Andre Brink Speaks at Birzeit University

Andre Brink, the famed South African writer and Professor of English at the University of Cape Town, gave a lecture last Thursday 15 June at Birzeit University under the title "We are waiting for the miracle". Brink has been twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Brink spoke about the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa and his time spent growing up in the period of white rule. He spoke from the perspective of a writer "I have come to share with you but also to learn from you. The miracle did not happen alone but it took 300 years of people's work. The miracle did not come from the sky but was due to many factors, mainly patience under terrible circumstances."

"We began to see changes in attitude in the 1980s. White South Africans met with the African National Congress and we learnt that violence alone can't do many things."

"Poetry and literature as a whole has an important function in building solidarity. You must be for things such as justice and love, not just opposed to everything."

"In the first few months since the downfall of Apartheid we were ecstatic and shared in many things but now, 6 years later we return to our practical lives and there are many disappointing things. There is violence, corruption and not enough has happened on the level of visibility. Before 6 years we had problems, now we have challenges."

Brink also discussed his standpoint as a writer. "A writer should write about what he knows. I'm not interested in politics, I am interested in politics lived by people. I now wish to write about stories from South African history. Up until now this has not been told or was only told by a white male."